Reginald D Hunter at Latitude 2017 | Gig review by Steve Bennett

Reginald D Hunter at Latitude 2017

Gig review by Steve Bennett

Reginald D Hunter takes to the Latitude stage in a wheelchair, having broken his leg last month, though he keeps coy as to why.

It’s interesting how the dynamic changes with a stand-up sitting down. Now when he explains American politics (short version: ‘we messed up bad this time’) it almost seems like Jackanory storytelling.

Hunter, of course, always has tales to tell, and this time around many revolve around his Alabama family, not least the 98-year-old father he idolises, but also his brother (‘a Christian prick’) and niece, with all the self-righteous rebellion of any teen. The affectionate way he speaks about his dad is touching; the others, he gets to roll his eyes at.

In return, he gets to tell his relative his tales of life in England. It may be his home of 20 years, but he still has an outsiders’ eye to highlight some of the absurdities we barely notice ourselves.

Elsewhere, we have plenty of trademark Hunter… which is essentially dirty talk, but expressed with languid, well-spoken eloquence, blended with provocative contentions to upset the white people, although that element is, for the most part, more muted than usual.

His agent suggested that, just occasionally, he try something ‘light, bouncy and stupid’. His response is a darkly sexual Angela Merkel fantasy, a slow closing section which leaves an unpleasant tastes. Hunter does it for just that reaction, to mess with the polite white folk, but it doesn’t change the outcome.

His best section, though, concerns an unlikely friendship he struck up with a posh 75-year-old white woman who works in public relations and addressed him as ‘black man’ the first time they met – a forthright approach that both stunned the usually unflappable comic and strangely endeared her to him.

Their relationship has all the potential for a quirky buddy comedy movie, and Hunter wittily and vividly paints a picture of their mischief-making encounters that has the Latitude audience rapt.

Review date: 16 Jul 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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